‘It’ Movie Review Roundup: Stephen King’s Demonic Clown Film Better Than The Original
A cinematic telling of Stephen King‘s classic It is once again terrifying audiences. The film, directed by Andy Muschietti, brings us into the fictional town of Derry, Maine, in which children are slowly disappearing. The kids band together to face off against the evil clown named Pennywise, played with horrifying accuracy by Bill Skarsgård. Critics have been impressed so far with the horror flick, giving it a 89% on Rottentomaotes.
The film only covers half the material of the book, and we may expect to see a sequel somewhere down the line, as King wrote a 1,100 page follow up called Chapter One, in which we reconnect with the kids 27 years later. It opens everywhere today, Sept. 8.
IT REVIEW ROUNDUP
“Expect all the bleak summer chatter about the dying box office to fade with the opening of It, a crowdpleasing frightfest bound for box-office paydirt. For weeks now, the trailers for the film version of Stephen King’s terror classic have been cranking us up to lose our s–t. That evil clown Pennywise, a spectacularly scary Bill Skarsgard, is the stuff of nightmares. The full-length movie, however, can’t match the trailers for sustained terror – it runs a punishing two hours and 15 minutes (and it’s only half of the novel). But It works enough of the time to deliver on the promise of bad dreams… This is no modern classic, like The Babadook. But It will creep you out big time.”
–Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“It’s maximalist approach also extends to the movie’s pacing. Nearly every scene builds to some kind of climactic jump scare—not just the appearance of Pennywise, but such alternative horrors as leprous zombies, menacing wall portraits come to life, and bathroom sinks that spurt fountains of blood. Each of these manifestations is tied to the deepest fears of the person seeing it—or rather, the child seeing it, since one of Pennywise’s powers is to be visible only to the underage victims he stalks… My only tip to whoever makes that movie would be to adjust the percentages: 60 percent more friendship, 40 percent less clown.”
–Dana Stevens, Slate
“Horror’s power here does not come from monstrous imagery, but from the encounter with evil: abusive parents (sexually and otherwise), sadistic bullies, a town so benumbed by violence that it simply shrugs when its children go missing. Muschietti seems to miss that, going for teeth over terror from the get-go.”
–Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader
“The new adaptation, directed by Andy Muschietti (2013’s Mama), is in that rare category of remakes that actually have a mission — to do more justice to the source material, to just be a better movie in general… And on that count at least, it succeeds: This new It has more on its mind, and gives more body and voice to King’s ideas of childhood anxieties and the corrosive power of fear. It’s also a good deal more scary, and not just because its R rating allows it to show little Georgie Denbrough flailing around with a missing arm in its rendition of It’s first attack… As a whole, though, all the points of view feel lived-in and the nightmares all the more real for their grounding. And is it scary? Your mileage may vary, but I found myself pleasantly gripped by at least three sequences so alarming that by the time they were over I found I had involuntarily moved quite literally to the edge of my seat.”
–Emily Yoshida, Vulture